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Enemy at the Gates (2001) Poster

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

Several times when the soldiers are firing their weapons a flame is shown but no cartridge cases.

Anachronisms 

In the scene where Vassili is lighting the cigarette butt he picked up from the German sniper, it's apparent by the flame he uses a butane lighter. Butane lighters were not invented until the 1950's.
From certain angles it can be clearly seen that the lenses of Danilov's spectacles have modern, anti-reflective coating.
When Vasily and Danilov arrive at the banquet with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet National Anthem can be heard playing in the background. This anthem was not adopted until early 1944, just over a year after that scene takes place.
Every pistol shown in the film seems to be correct, being either Tokarev TT-33's or 1895 Nagant revolvers, except for one. During the initial "human wave" charge, after the Soviet conscripts turn to retreat back to their lines and are cut down by friendly fire, there is one camera shot which shows two NKVD officers firing semiautomatic pistols. The nearest one is only partially visible, but appears to be a Makarov PM, rather than a Tokarev TT-33. The Makarov pistol was not designed until just after the war.
The stethoscope used to examine Tania near the end of the movie is actually a post-1960 style. Stethoscopes before 1960 always have two separate tubings attached to the bell.
The hand that Tania puts down Vassili's trousers has clear, shiny varnish on the nails. Possible in 1942, because it was invented by Michelle Ménard in the early 1920s, but unlikely to be used by a Russian soldier in Stalingrad.
While Danilov is a commissar for most of the course of the film, the rank of commissar was eliminated on 9 October 1942, well before the end of the Stalingrad battle.
When Danilov crashes his car near the fountain and it rolls over, radial type tires are seen. Although patented in 1915, radial tires were not used on vehicles until the 1960s.

Character error 

Vassilij is always called with his full name. That is a mistake, especially when such a name is used by the grandfather and Vassilij is a kid. No Russian grandfather calls his grandson by full name - a diminutive should be used like Vasja or Vasjachka. The full name is used only if it's short (Ilja) and to add respect (such as between comrades, or in official ceremonies), and the patronymic should be used together with the name.
The role which Eva Mattes is playing Mother Filipov. Filipov can not be a women's surname in Russia as all women surnames must end with an 'A' if her husband's surname end with 'OV', e.g. Filipov > Filipova, Maslikov > Maslikova.
In several of the scenes Jude Law's character is shown pulling hard on the trigger (or the rifle moves before the sound of the shot), this would have made shooting very inaccurate. People who shoot squeeze gentle on the trigger when firing, to minimize the movement of the hand and arm.

Continuity 

Where the Russian soldiers charge the German lines, and retreat to be shot by their own troops, the same Russian is seen dying twice, once on the advance and again during retreat.
The bolt on the rifle Danilov picks up at the beginning changes positions from the ready position to upright, and then back again, as he prepares to shoot
The two chocolate bars that Major König gives Sacha jump about on the table before Sacha picks them up.
The dead German on the catwalk in the factory changes positions after Vassili checks him with the para-scope.
At about 46 minutes of the movie, Zaitsev came back from the war zone. He had blood on his right forehead. Danilov started to talk to him. Then all of sudden, a bandage appeared on Zaitsev's forehead. Once they got inside of the house, all Zaitsev's blood disappeared from his forehead, only the bandage is still there.
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Koulikov's teeth are not always metal, mostly in shots where his mouth is barely open.
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When Danilov is about to attempt to shoot the German officer, Vassily takes the rifle from Danilov, loads it, and sets the rear site to 100m. Yet when Danilov takes aim again its rear site is set back at the same place it was before.
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Nikita Khrushchev's mole at the left edge of his nose is sometimes prominent, sometimes minimal, and sometimes missing altogether in several scenes.
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In the scenes where the Russian soldiers charge out from under the train carriages, after Vassili falls asleep and Major König is making it across safely over the yellow heap, the charge is incoherent; The bunch of soldiers charging from under the train carriages have charged twice if you look closely.
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When Koulikov, Vassili and Volodya are going under the tunnel, Vassili spots a dead soldier. First scene shows the soldier with a grey finger. The second scene, after Vassili observes him with periscope, we see that the finger has turned red for a brief second, and after that scene we can see that he has no finger at all.
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When is shows Sasa in the German camp, he puts a boot on his cobblers bench to repair the sole, but it looks to be fine with no apparent wear. In the next shot the sole is heavily worn and Sasa precedes to replace it.
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In the scene where Vassili first encounters Major König from the downed bomber outside the department store, after he fires he cycles the bolt on his rifle and a fully intact round is ejected, despite the round having been fired seconds beforehand.
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When Commisar Davilov is showing Vassili the first leaflet with his story printed on it, he grabs a page fresh off the printing press, where you can clearly see there are only four helmet graphics shown with X's over them. In the close up shot of the same leaflet, there are now five helmets with X's, to signify the five Germans that Vassili killed. It appears as if the first prop leaflets designed only showed four kills.
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After Vasily kills his first five Germans near the fountain, Danilov prints a leaflet extolling his feat of arms. When the leaflet comes off the press it clearly shows only four crossed-out helmets. By the time he hands the leaflet to Vasily a fifth helmet has appeared.
Tania's glove before the love-making scene

Crew or equipment visible 

In the climax of movie, when Major König finally walks out of cover to check his kill, he steps over a railway line, then a microphone windscreen is seen at bottom.
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Factual errors 

Whistles were never used in the Soviet Army as a signal for attack.
German bombers would not bomb so low to the ground, especially over a city like that. The explosions could damage the planes.
The countries shown in the animated sequence as having been conquered by Germany in 1942 are incorrect. Switzerland and Turkey, for instance, were neutral and had not been invaded.
Whenever we see Soviet soldiers in battle, not a single rifle has a bayonet. However, in WWII, Soviet soldiers always went into battle with the bayonets on their rifles.
The film often shows vast expanses of empty ruins within Stalingrad, particularly when Zaitsev and Konig are hunting one another. This would have been physically impossible at the Battle of Stalingrad, as hundreds of thousands, if not over a million solders were crammed into an area of only a few square miles.
Vasily shoots König in the hand with his rifle, leaving only a small hole. The high powered 7.62x54R round that the Mosin Nagant fires should have severely mutilated König's hand.
The one ribbon that Major König wears on his ribbon bar is a non-combatant's version of a commemorative medal for WWI veterans. Not only is it unlikely that an ace WWII sniper would have been a non-combatant in WWI, König wears a combatant's WWI Iron Cross ribbon through the buttonhole of his tunic, directly contradicting the ribbon bar.
The rifle barrel shown in the opening scene was so thickly wrapped it would have been impossible to align the sights.
Mass attacks such as the one depicted at the beginning of the film were never utilized in Stalingrad. Open squares such as the one depicted were few and far between, and all the actual fighting was done street-to-street, often with entire battles taking place in a single building.
"Zagradotryad" - the NKVD regiment responsible for shooting retreating troops are dressed in regular army uniforms, not NKVD issued uniforms.
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The scope mounted on Vasili's rifle in the movie is of the PU type. On actual pictures dated 1942 another type of scope can be seen, most likely of the (larger) PEM type.
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In the film, the troop train arrives near the Volga, so that the emerging soldiers can see the river and Stalingrad. At that time the rail line ended miles from the east bank of the Volga and they would have either marched, or ridden in carts or trucks to the city. (Cf. Walter S. Dunn Jr. Stalin's keys to victory. Stackpole Books, 2006.)
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At the time of banquet honoring Vassili, the Russian anthem was the old "Internationale," which then became the party theme when the new (still familiar to some) Stalin-attributed theme of 1943 became adopted.
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On the DVD cover the bolt of the Mosin Nagant is on the wrong side.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

As always in "based on a true story" stories, there are many inconsistencies between the people and events from "real life" and the people and events as portrayed in the movie.
As always in war movies, some of the antique military hardware, while coming from broadly the correct period, does not precisely match the precise timeframe of the movie.
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Danilov enthusiastically tells Zaitsev that their article will be republished all over the country, including in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and the Urals. However, the Crimean peninsula fell to the Germans in June 1942, before the film begins. This could, however, be an expression of Danilov's optimism that Crimea will soon be liberated.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Zaitsev first meets Danilov (before the first five shootings), you can see many of the corpses breath in the cold air.
The movie depicts events which occurred during one of the coldest and snowiest winters in Russian history yet we almost never see snow. The cold was so intense that it was considered a common enemy on both sides.
The Barmaley Fountain in the movie has nine kids around the crocodile while the real fountain had actually only six.
In the scene where Zaitsev is trying retrieve his rifle with a string and pocketknife, the German shoots the string, but the bolt on his rifle is not locked down. This would have resulted in a misfire and possibly would have injured the shooter.
In the opening fighting scene, a gigantic metal bust/statue moves when a soldier bumps into it.
When the camera focuses on Zaitsev after he first speaks to Danilov ("You'll get us caught, Comrade Commissar."), the "corpse" next to him blinks.
When Danilov's vehicle crashes the stunt driver's bright red helmet can clearly be seen.
After Vassili shoots the five German soldiers at the fountain, the camera pans over Danilov lying near him in the fountain, and behind Danilov the head of a dead soldier moves.
In the scene where Vassili shoots the five soldiers, right after Danilov says "Don't shoot, don't shoot, he's looking right at us." You can see a foot moving amongst the dead bodies. The foot moving has a light brown sole, and Vassili's is much darker so it cannot be his foot.
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Spoilers 

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Factual errors 

When Koulikov is shot his body falls short of the other side of the gap. This would not happen. Being shot would have no effect effect on where he landed.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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